A mission statement is a one-sentence synopsis of what a business does and the positive influence it hopes to have. Businesses may use one to explain their goals and values so that their audience has a better knowledge of their business. Understanding what to put in this statement might assist a brand in attracting new customers and expanding its clientele.
A mission statement reflects the business' goals, what it hopes to achieve, and why its efforts are important. It also provides moral principles for employees to follow and gives the public a better knowledge of the business' aims, values, and purpose. Here at Indy, we want to help freelancers thrive, so in this article, we'll walk you through what exactly a mission statement is, common mistakes to watch out for, and how to write a great mission statement for your business.
Understanding the Basics
As noted above, a mission statement expresses the aim of a company. It informs the general public as to why your company exists, and each business should have a mission statement to help unify it.
Here are the key elements of a company's mission statement:
- Goals: A mission statement serves to unify a business by establishing its goals, providing staff with a roadmap for achieving business success. This improves organization and can lead to a more efficient workplace overall.
- Values: Mission statements also aid in the definition of a business' culture, ethics, and fundamental values, which provide insight into the business' standards and morals. It also informs the public about the type of behaviors to expect from the business.
- Purpose: Mission statements inform others about the business' contribution to society and the rationale for its existence. It also allows businesses to explain why they do certain things and why the business exists. This factor assists the business' audience in better understanding what distinguishes it from other businesses.
A mission statement is a combination of what your company or nonprofit does and how and why it does it, expressed in a way that signifies the values that are important to you.
Preparing for Writing a Mission Statement
Before you begin writing a mission statement, take some time to gather information and conduct research. Begin by analyzing the business' history and background—this can help narrow down key goals, core values, and the business' purpose. Consider what separates it from other businesses in the industry, who its target audience and market is, and why the business was created in the first place.
Additionally, you can create a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis is a planning tool that aims to determine the project's or the business' Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It is a framework for aligning a business' goals, programs, and capacities with the environment in which they operate.
Here's a quick breakdown:
- Strengths: Good tangible and intangible characteristics that are intrinsic to a business and under its control.
- Weaknesses: Internal elements within a business' control that limit its capacity to achieve the desired aim. In what areas could the business improve?
- Opportunities: Externally appealing characteristics that represent the cause for a business' existence and development. What are the opportunities in the environment that will advance the business? Determine their time frames.
- Threats: External circumstances outside the business' control that could jeopardize the mission or operation of the business. The business may benefit from having contingency plans in place to deal with these circumstances if they occur. Sort them according to their severity and likelihood of occurrence.
When creating a SWOT analysis, consider the following:
- How the information will be gathered and by whom.
- Determine acceptable information sources.
- Collect the data; it's helpful to utilize a template as a starting point for examining the factors and documenting the data.
- Make a graph of your findings.
- Determine the most critical issues.
- Determine your strategic choices.
- Determine which actions are most important in light of the business' aims and values.
How to Write a Mission Statement
It is critical to have a well-written mission statement that is clear, short, and addresses all of the main parts. The following are the steps to creating an effective mission statement:
Begin by stating the purpose of the business' existence. An online store, for example, may sell candles to customers. A mission statement should emphasize how the company differentiates from competitors in the industry, in addition to identifying the company's purpose. This can be accomplished by highlighting the company's specialty, which helps clients to see the company's contribution to society.
For example, an online store may provide candles to customers made entirely of organic oils that are healthy for the environment. Customers can determine which company to buy from and which things to buy if they understand how it differs from its competitors.
How the business will accomplish its goals
Outline the general operations of the business to demonstrate how it completes its tasks. Typically, this comprises a list of the business' basic principles and beliefs. Some examples of business values are equal access to resources, providing superior customer service, and providing products to customers. For example, using the same example above, the candle store may make natural oils at home utilizing organic substances grown from home.
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Consider the reason for the business' actions
A business' passion and the reasons for doing specific things can also be included in a mission statement. If you're developing a new mission statement for a business that has strayed from its original reasons, evaluate the business' purpose and why it was founded.
For example, the candle business actions could have been motivated by promoting sustainable shopping and providing customers with high-quality, environmentally friendly products. This is the desired good influence of the business, and it is why it supplies organic candles to its clients.
Target audience and market
A mission statement should explain who your company serves, why someone should choose to work with you, and what you can accomplish for your consumers.
Begin by describing your ideal customer: What are their general demographics? What are their professional and personal lives like? What problems or obstacles do they face in everyday life? How do they learn about fresh businesses or products (through Instagram, word of mouth, or another marketing strategy)? How do you want your customers to feel when they utilize your product or service?
On the other hand, you can think about the types of clients your business would be unsuitable for. This is also known as building a buyer persona, and it will help you narrow down who your target market is and how to tailor your mission statement to their specific needs and desires.
This is unlikely to appear verbatim in your final mission statement, but it will help you focus on what you do, why you do it, and the unique value you offer to the lives of your customers.
As noted, your mission statement should reflect your business' purpose and ambitions, and in that you should be genuine—but don't confuse it with an essay, op-ed, or journal piece. Your mission statement is a marketing asset at its core. That means it should be brief and to the point.
After you've written, try to condense your statement into a few paragraphs. Then, attempt to simplify it even more so you can easily use this one or two-liner in your marketing materials; consider it the elevator pitch version of a more comprehensive mission statement.
Get some readers on board as well. If you have staff, run your mission statement past them to get their feedback. Consider sharing your mission statement with trusted advisors and customers to ensure it appropriately describes the business and matches your long-term objectives.
Good mission statement examples
Here are a few mission statement samples drawn from successful brands.
- SoulCycle: “Our mission is to bring Soul to the people. Our one-of-a-kind, rockstar instructors guide riders through an inspirational, meditative fitness experience that's designed to benefit the body, mind and soul. Set in a dark candlelit room to high-energy music, our riders move in unison as a pack to the beat and follow the signature choreography of our instructors. The experience is tribal. It's primal. It's fun.”
- Casper: “We believe sleep is the superpower that charges everything people do. We’ve spent years studying the magic and science of sleep. The more we learn, the more we’re sure: Great sleep changes everything. It makes us friendlier, faster, smarter… even warmer-and-fuzzier. If we all got great sleep, the world would be brighter.”
- Nike: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. *If you have a body, you are an athlete.”
- Spotify: “With Spotify, it’s easy to find the right music or podcast for every moment—on your phone, your computer, your tablet and more. There are millions of tracks and episodes on Spotify. So whether you’re behind the wheel, working out, partying, or relaxing, the right music or podcast is always at your fingertips.”
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Let's take a look at the five common mistakes made when writing a business' mission statement. When done incorrectly, a mission statement might actually undercut the high performance goals that you are attempting to achieve in the first place.
1. Too long
When it comes to the length of your mission statement, size does matter. Nobody will read, let alone remember, your mission statement if it is a long, drawn-out discussion of each aspect of your business. Your goal is to create a mission statement that will leave an impression on your readers long after they have turned the page. That will not happen if your mission statement is too extensive.
2. Neglecting to align the mission statement with the business' strategy
An excellent mission statement is woven into the company's core values, culture, and fabric of your business. It's not just something that goes up on the wall and on the website. It is included in all of your organization's material.
You should have direct tie-ins and references to your mission during your hiring practices, business meetings, performance assessments, and job descriptions. After all, your business is centered on a Mission: its reason for being.
3. Too unbelievable
Some entrepreneurs go overboard in their mission statement to generate excitement for the business. It's fine to be optimistic, but when optimism becomes pure fiction, there's a problem. The better method is to focus your mission statement on the goals you have for the next three to five years, and change it if things go better than predicted.
4. Neglecting to involve key stakeholders
Your mission statement should be integrated into all of your interactions with your stakeholders. Your mission statement is the focal point of your business; make every effort to publicize it.
5. Fluff and jargon
A mission statement must have meaning for the people who read it. To influence what they do and how they make decisions, it must connect with them on an emotional and intuitive level. There must be an impact not only on yourself, but on everyone who comes into contact with your business.
Effective writing almost always entails explaining things as clearly and simply as possible. This includes avoiding fancy words and industry jargon. These phrases quickly become cliche and no longer signify anything to anyone.
How Indy Can Help with Mission Statements
Here at Indy, we aim to help freelancers with the day-to-day running of their business. When writing your mission statement, it's important to consider your business' strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to help determine your goals and purpose. Indy's free SWOT analysis template is a great place to start! We have SWOT templates for every major platform. You can use Word, build a Google Doc, feed data into Excel, or create PowerPoint templates for your business to use.
Here are some other ways Indy can help with your business:
- Our integrated Tasks app makes it simple to keep track of all your tasks. With list and board views, you can see what's coming up and even keep track of your chores from your calendar.
- Independent professionals value their time. With our Calendar app, you can simply book appointments and meetings, track time, and see what's due. It even syncs with your Google Calendar.
With Indy, you can manage all of your business tasks, create contracts, send invoices, and safely store important files all in one place! Sign up today and try for yourself.
A mission statement expresses the aim of a company and describes the business' goals, what it hopes to achieve, and why its efforts are important. By following the steps above, you can write a mission statement that effectively addresses your business' purpose and its unique value. Before finalizing your mission statement, be sure to thoroughly revise to ensure it is mistake-free and professional, and avoids the common mistakes noted above!
For more information on mission statements, you can check out our guide How to Build a Good Personal Brand Statement.